Top Ten, Etc.

A View at Galloway National

There’s a pretty interesting feature (to me) over at Golf Digest’s website.  They’ve asked several top players, or asked them over the years to rank their top-10 favorite courses in the United States.  It’s an interesting look, because these are players with access to just about any course in the country.  There isn’t quite as much variety as I would like to see, but maybe the best really are just the best.  I’ve played only a dabbling of top courses in my lifetime, but here’s my top-10 anyway.  If you’re wondering where Pine Valley and Augusta are, well, I haven’t played them, but thanks for asking.

1.  Merion Golf Club (East Course)–Upon some reflection, this is easily the best course I’ve ever played.

2.  Gallaway National Golf Club–First time I played Gallaway, I was careering it through 10 holes, then blew up.  The second time, with less emotional swings I realized how good the golf course was.

3.  Bob O’Link–My favorite place to experience.  A men’s only club in Highland Park, Illinois.  Amazing atmosphere and a pretty good golf course too.

4.  Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms)–Maybe the best set of Par 4s I’ve ever encountered.

5.  Shoreacres–A hidden gem for design enthusiasts, hardly gets any play, felt like I had the course to myself in the middle of the summer.

6.  The New Course at Grand Cypress–There’s no rough on this golf course.  There’s trouble, but the fringe from the putting green melds perfectly into the first tee and off you go.  All short grass.  For me, a dream come true.

7.  Lost Dunes Golf Club–Kind enough to employ me for a summer, but also one of Tom Doak’s first great American courses.

8.  The Olympic Club (Ocean Course)–The less famous of the two courses, but the golf in San Francisco is unique and just off the charts good.  This was the best I’ve gotten to experience.

9.  Caledonia Golf and Fish Club–I debated between this and Tidewater, but I think this is my favorite in the Myrtle Beach area.  I just love the final shot coming over the water on 18 with the clubhouse in the background.

10.  Bent Creek Country Club–Four years of college golf practice.  Pretty good course, but all those laughs and misadventures deserve a spot in the top-10.

Feel free to share some of your favorites…


If you don’t feel like debating golf course rankings, or lamenting the fact that the now defunct Valley Forge Golf/Tennis and Yacht club is one of the 20 best courses you’ve ever played…here’s something else to think about.  I’m sitting here, surrounded by a pretty good haul of Easter candy.  It was a decent year.  It made me think, what holiday has the best of it in terms of sweets or desserts?  They all have their specialties.  Easter brings out Cadbury Eggs, jelly beans, pastel colored M&M (they taste better!).  There’s Halloween.  There are Christmas cookies.  Thanksgiving has a stranglehold on the pie market it seems like.  You could bend the rules and say July 4th could have the S’More.  Would Christmas lose points for the Fruitcake?  How would you rate your holidays in terms of calorie binge delivery systems?  If I was ranking quickly, I’d probably go:

  1. Easter
  2. Christmas
  3. Halloween
  4. Thanksgiving
  5. Summer 3-Day Weekends.


23 thoughts on “Top Ten, Etc.

  1. The final shot at Caledonia is awesome, but terrifying to someone as bad as me. I played there in October, and there were probably a half dozen people sitting out on the porch of the clubhouse just watching and waiting for us to put it in the water.

    There was about a 80% chance I was going to hit it fat and do just that (or thin, and do just that), but I manged to actually make great contact. I was so pleased with myself until I realized I had used way too much club and had pulled it left. It was actually fortunate that I had pulled it so much or it probably would have ended up on the porch. Instead I was up in a tree (which fortunately kept me out of the parking lot).

    That was the 2nd time that day hitting a tree kept me out of big trouble. Earlier I had hit an 8 iron on one of the par 3s. I knew I had hit it really well but when I looked up I was shocked to see that it was getting ready to soar over the green into the woods. It hit way up in a tree behind the green and bounced back about 10 feet from the hole. I was confused how I had hit my 8 iron so far, but as I put my club back into my bag I realized I had actually grabbed my 4 iron.

    So I guess I’m saying I need a caddy.

    • i actually rolled in a birdie on 18 once and got a little ovation from the deck. a great moment in my career…

      if you can’t tell the difference between a 4 and an 8 iron by looking at it at address, you probably need to play a bit more often.

  2. I saw the same feature, it was very interesting.

    What a joke asking Donald trump, especially after he just names courses that he owns.

  3. Is it too embarassing to do this exercise if Chester Valley is #3 on your list? It is probably a case of familiarity and absence making the heart grow fonder.

    1. Merion (East)
    2. Finley GC (North Carolina)
    3. Chester Valley (Pa.)
    4. Scotland Run (New Jersey)
    5. Duke University GC (North Carolina)
    6. Bulle Rock (Md.)
    7. Hanover CC (New Hampshire)
    8. Waynesborough (Pa.)
    9. Green Mountain National (Vermont)
    10. Glen Mills (Pa.)

  4. well Jasbo can choke on one.

    i stuck with the Golf Digest guidelines of US only.

    I thought Trump’s list was classic and insulting. If he had only listed his courses it would have made sense, but mixing them in with the others makes it look like he actually thinks they belong. he’s got some nice places, but let other people tell you how good they are.

    I think Chester Valley is a fine #3. Back in High School it probably would have cracked my list.

  5. US only, good point. No particular order:

    1) Ridgewood (prob Center/East
    2) Osprey
    3) Great Gorge
    4) Wild Turkey
    5) NY Country Club
    6) Southampton CC
    7) Poxabogue (classic nostalgia and great breakfast)
    8) Centennial GC (NY)
    9) Skyview
    10) President’s Golf Course (played it this wknd, so fresh which probably biased)

  6. Osprey is in Kiawah, I’m also a fan of River and Cassique actually, they belong on there. I played Ocean over Thanksgiving, i just don’t think I’m proficient enough to appreciate it.

  7. No order
    1. Merion East (toughest finishing holes in golf)
    2. Ocean Course (one of the toughest courses in golf)
    3. Heather Glen and Glen Dornoch (told ya there was no order. I know they’re separate, but I always have them together.
    4. Huntingdon Valley
    5. Glenmaura National (next to home of Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees)
    6. Wilmington Country Club (place is the tits)
    7. Bidder man (iPad won’t let me spell t as one word)
    8. BethPage Black
    9. Philly Cricket
    10. Kennett Square Golf and Country Club (cause I’m a club champ snitches. Yep. Really just typed that)

    Saw someone mentioned Glen Mills. Most overrated course in the country. Blind tee shot on every hole on the front 9.

    All of the coursesnin kiawah are incredible. That’s one of the best golf trips you can take.

    • I’ve heard nothing but good things about Wilmington and the old man loved Merion.

      Ocean is beautiful, i just really think i’m not good enough to appreciate the course. Instead I’m either searching for my ball or thinking about how in God’s name i’m doing to justify pulling out driver on a par 3 w/o looking like a sally, b/c the wind makes it impossible for me to hit anything else. The only course i dislike there is Cougar, since it’s 18 all the way out, doesn’t loop back to the clubhouse at 9. That’s just long and inappropriate to me, and makes me dislike the course.

      Was Briar’s Creek open when you were there Dub?

      • Don’t remember briar’s creek. I was there about 12 years ago. I remember I was 1 over through about 8 holes and then the wind hit me and I struggled to break 90

  8. I’d put Biderman on my honorable mentions. That place was pretty hot.

    I played 12 holes at wilmington and got rained out. If I did all 18, I would have it on the list.

  9. Huntington Valley would have been on my list if I had actually played it. I’ve caddied there but not played it.

    I don’t really disagree with Dub’s assessment of Glen Mills. I was reaching there and was at risk of putting Downingtown or Honeybrook on the list which somehow seemed wrong. Although nothing against Honeybrook really. It is a fun enough place to play.

    • DC,
      I can’t say Glen Mills is too much of a reach considering how many people like it.

      Wyncote is the opposite of Glen Mills and I think it’s completely underrated. It’s just in a terrible location (about 15 minutes from me, so it’s way out there).

      There are two things that are classic about Bidermann. One is true, the other who knows.

      First, there are never more than 15 people on the golf course.

      Second, they take all of the sales at the end of the year and whack it up evenly. So if you bought a hat and that’s it, you’re lookin at an expensive hat. But if you buy a new set of irons a driver, maybe a Scotty and who knows what else, you’re makin out like a bandit.

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